Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Breasts




I visited Dr. B yesterday, and as I hoped, he removed the drain. So why do I feel so lousy? Ever since Monday, I've been afflicted with a general malaise, and more concrete symptoms, such as aching joints. Others have told me that healing from surgery can be draining. Every conversation I had today seemed to have been broadcast from some distant planet.

With the drain removed, and swelling reduced, I can better see the end results of surgery. There will be a little dent on the outside of my right breast, and any illusion of symmetry between the girls is now officially over. In fact, asymmetry is very common. When it comes to breasts, "normal" includes countless shapes and sizes. The previous link, a site advocating public breastfeeding, is probably NSFW. Breasts, despite doing unsexy things like feeding babies and getting cancer, are still officially dirty in this country.

And not having breasts is dirty, too. Twisty at I Blame the Patriarchy found that, despite having a double mastectomy, going topless while swimming was not an option. It upset the other women at the pool, apparently. Although I'm not as bold as Twisty, I wondered if I would feel self-conscious undressing after a mastectomy, even in front of other women. When I exposed my bald head in public, it most often was women who stared at me. Although some of the scrutiny was friendly, though artless, some was cold, without a spark of kindness or concern. Perhaps a cancer patient who chooses to not cover her bald head, much less her mastectomy scars, is considered to be weird and threatening.

1 comment:

frosteefritz said...

Just wanted to say hello and thanks for sending Cindy and I the link to your blog. Reading backwards into past entries, I'm still trying to process all that you have been through. So much change over so little time. Yet from having bumped into you and Joe two weeks ago, and after having read this blog, I'm absolutely amazed at how you two have chosen to deal with this experience. You've put a very positive, funny, stylish,ironic and heartfelt Elissa-and-Joe spin on it all, and it just reinforces for me what wonderful friends you really are. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs with us all. Marc Wellin